Seder eve on the way
Photo: Shaul Golan
The Haggadah. 59 percent will read in full
Photo: Yaakov Saar, GPO
Photo: Niv Rosenberg
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, preferred guest
Photo: Niv Rosenberg
Photo: Keren Natanzon
Ninet Tayeb, Israel's pop idol
Photo: Keren Natanzon
Ehud Olmert, unpopular
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Most Israelis eat kosher for Pesach

Poll shows that despite secular-religious differences, traditional Passover Seder still strong among Israeli Jews

Preparations are a nightmare, and when it finally arrives there isn't really anything to eat, but somehow, 3,319 years after it was first celebrated, Passover is still one of the most popular holidays in Israel.


A survey conducted for Ynet's Jewish Channel and the Gesher organization, aimed at bridging gaps between secular and religious Jews, showed that 94 percent of the Jewish Israeli public will celebrate Passover Seder in the traditional manner, including a festive supper and a reading of the Passover Haggadah.


The survey was conducted by the Mutagim research institute among a representative sample of 500 respondents, composed of Israel's adult Hebrew-speaking Jewish population.


In response to the question: "How do you plan to celebrate the coming Seder?" 59 percent of the respondents said they would read the Haggadah in full and have a special holiday dinner.


Twenty-six percent said they would celebrate similarly, but would leave out sections of the Haggadah meant for after the meal. Nine percent said they would mainly be focusing on the meal, while only mentioning parts of the Haggadah.


Four percent of the respondents said that the Haggadah would not be present at their table, while one percent said they would not be celebrating Seder at all.


When comparing results among different religious sections, the poll showed that 100 percent of ultra-Orthodox and 96 percent of religious Jews will read almost the whole Haggadah in full.


Most traditional Jews (67 percent) will be sure to reach Chad Gadia, while 28 percent of them said they would read the Haggadah just until the appetizers arrive.


Seculars will be doing the least amount of reading, as the poll showed that 39 percent will be reading up until the point of the meal, 34 percent will be sure to read the whole Haggadah, and 16 percent will settle for simply bringing up sections of it.


74 percent will not eat leavened foods 

Despite images of Israelis storming Jaffa's legendary Abulafia bakery for pita bread, the survey showed that a significant majority of 74 percent of Israel's Jewish public does not plan on eating leavened food for the duration of the holiday.


Eleven percent said that they would eat leavened foods, but promised they would only do this in their own homes so as "not to disrespect others."


The remaining 15 percent do not keep kosher at all and said they would eat leavened foods anywhere they could.


Religious breakdown shows that traditional Jews were proven to be more conservative when it comes to leavened food, as 95 percent of them will not eat any products that are not kosher for Pesach, just as the expected 100 percent of religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews.


Seculars paint a slightly different picture, with 48 percent keeping Pesach strictly according to the rules, 30 percent eating leavened foods any chance they get and 22 percent only eating leavened foods in their own homes, out of consideration for others.


5 percent would like to have Seder with Olmert

And who would the average Israeli Jew like to have over for Passover Seder? Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi OVadia Yosef is the most wanted according to the survey, with 18 percent of the respondents naming him as their favored guest.


Coming in second after the rabbi was a peculiar choice - Israel's first pop idol, singer Ninet Tayeb, who 14 percent of ultra-Orthodox and 6 percent of religious Jews said they would like to host.


Fourteen percent of the public said they would like to celebrate the holiday with Supreme Court president, Judge Dorit Beinish, and only 5 percent said they would like to have Seder with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


Sticking to tradition, 42 percent of the respondents said they would not want to share their Seder table with any of the above names, and would rather celebrate with their in-laws and extended family around a crowded table.


Gesher's director Shoshi Becker said that the data regarding keeping kosher for Pesach completely contradicts claims that people who do not keep Torah and commandments would chose to eat leavened food out of spite.


Becker also said that the survey refutes the common belief that basing Seder eve on the Haggadah is exclusive to the religious.


"This is one of the few questions that would give identical results as far back as 200, 500, or a thousand years ago," said Becker.


"The main challenge this holiday is the 'tell your son' – that our sons and daughters will hear and understand the language of the Haggadah, which is not always simple, and will connect to a special experience so that they too will 'tell' the coming generations," said Becker.


"The Haggadah says that each man must view himself as if he has left Egypt, meaning that every man should view himself and be observant himself, but should remember that there is another Jew who also stems from the people of Israel, who may view himself differently and be observant differently. Part of our duty is to see everyone on this holiday and respect each other," she added.


פרסום ראשון: 03.28.07, 14:36
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